Welcome, Noel Clemons
Noel Joins Bold Penguin as Director of Customer Success
It’s been quite a ride since we launched the Bold Penguin Marketplace at InsurTech Connect back in 2015, and the fast following we have established in the commercial lines space so far is amazing. As we develop and bring to market offerings, such as the Emperor Rules Engine, and build out “send-side” partnerships which help populate the Marketplace with the right risks, customer satisfaction and success are top of mind for the Bold Penguin team.
We’re well aware that our success is based on customer success, and we are actively working to help our customers exceed expectations. That’s why Bold Penguin has created a Verification Team focused on customer success, and that is where Noel Clemons comes in....
Tell us a bit about yourself, Noel.
Well, let’s get the big questions out of the way first. I was born in Colorado Springs, but moved around a bit before settling in Columbus, Ohio. In spite of the moves, however, my time in Colorado has made me a life-long Denver Broncos fan at heart. Next up, it’s probably worth mentioning that I don’t have a background in insurance, but I have built my entire career around helping companies communicate more effectively with customers. So, building programs that enhance and support customer success are second nature to me. Personally, I am engaged and a mom, so my hobbies are all related to things that we can do as a family. Our favorite thing to do together is cooking, especially outdoors on the grill or smoker. We love trying new recipes and sharing them with friends and neighbors.
What is the mission of the Verification Team?
At the heart of our business is matching the right customer with the right agent, so as part of the Verification Team, Bold Penguin’s Customer Success Advocates are going to spend quality time talking with business owners to verify the accuracy of their information in context. That accuracy will ensure the Marketplace can make an appropriate match with the best agent for fulfilling their business insurance needs. Ultimately, we are focused on making the commercial insurance quote and purchase process easier for business owners, agents and insurance companies.
Is this the first time you have built a customer success program/department from the ground up? How do you plan to get started?
I spent several years working for a financial services company in Dallas that had an outside partner managing contact center needs. I knew we could do a better job with customer service and customer success internally, and eventually, we did bring that operation in house. I spent the next several years spearheading efforts to build out an internal contact center operation with 25 original agents which grew to over 175 agents, team leads, supervisors, managers, and technical help desk staff. Since I don’t have a background in insurance, I am focused on getting to know everything about Bold Penguin’s business, customers, and the team members.
What makes you passionate about driving customer success overall?
A successful customer is a happy customer, and that happiness opens the door to expansion of relationships or the purchase of additional products, as well as to customer retention and loyalty. For me personally, I get excited when I’m sure my team has not only successfully identified a customer’s needs, but communicated and interpreted them correctly so that the customer's needs are met. That defines success.
How do you believe your leadership style will benefit Bold Penguin team members and customers most significantly?
Transparency in communication is the crux of my coaching, managing, and mentoring philosophy. I believe it is vital that all parties be clear about expectations, so I focus significant energy on eliminating ambiguity. I welcome questions and suggestions, because I want everyone that I work with to feel that their feedback is valued. I believe that my preference for open communication will fit well with what the seasoned members of the Bold Penguin team have come to expect. It will also help the new additions to the team to feel comfortable in their roles, and understand how they fit into the overall success of the Verification Team, and Bold Penguin as an organization.
Can you tell us a little bit about your theories on growth from a personal, professional, and internal as well as external standpoint?
I support growth of the whole person, which is well beyond the basic skillset required to complete the everyday tasks of one’s day-to-day responsibilities. I consistently seek opportunities to stretch my knowledge and expertise beyond my comfort zone, and that makes it easy for me to reinforce that ideal in others. I have a talent for recognizing the strengths in the people around me, and I strive to harness the unique strengths in each individual to help them to grow and stretch beyond what they see in themselves.
What do you see as the basic elements of any customer success program? How do you feel about standard measures like Net Promoter Scores?
I’m not going to say they are not important to someone, but based on the roles that I have held, Net Promoter Scores haven't really been useful in predicting or promoting customer satisfaction and success. The elements that are currently on my radar are optimization of the calling process and aligning the Verification Team procedures with strategic Bold Penguin company goals. Ensuring the smooth growth of the team, supporting the seamless addition of new insurance company relationships, and formalizing mentoring are also important to me going forward.